Wild horse populations on western ranges can increase rapidly, resulting in the need for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove animals in order to protect the habitat that horses share with numerous other species. As an alternative to removals, BLM has sought to develop a long-term, perhaps even permanent, contraceptive to aid in reducing population growth rates. With long-term (perhaps even permanent) efficacy of contraception, however, comes increased concern about the genetic health of populations and about the potential for local extirpation. We used simulation modeling to examine the potential demographic and genetic consequences of applying a mare sterilant to wild horse populations. Using the VORTEX software package, we modeled the potential effects of a sterilant on 70 simulated populations having different initial sizes (7 values), growth rates (5 values), and genetic diversity (2 values). For each population, we varied the treatment rate of mares from 0 to 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. For each combination of these treatment levels, we ran 100 stochastic simulations, and we present the results in the form of tables and graphs showing mean population size after 20 years, mean number of removals after 20 years, mean probability of extirpation after 50 years, and mean heterozygosity after 50 years. By choosing one or two combinations of initial population size, population growth rate, and genetic diversity that best represent a herd of interest, a manager can assess the likely effects of a contraceptive program by examining the output tables and graphs representing the selected conditions.
Contribution of arctic PRISM to monitoring western hemispheric shorebirds [foreword]
Skagen, S.K., P.A. Smith, B.A. Andres, G. Donaldson, and S. Brown
Updated Date (text):
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Arctic shorebirds in North America: A decade of monitoring
Long-term monitoring of populations is of paramount importance to understanding responses of organisms to global environmental change and to evaluating whether conservation practices are yielding intended results through time (Wiens 2009). The population status of many shorebird species, the focus of this volume, remain poorly known. Long-distance migrant shorebirds have proven particularly difficult to monitor, in part because of their highly migratory nature and ranges that extend into highly inaccessible regions. As migrant shorebirds travel the length of the hemisphere, they congregate and disperse in ways that vary among species, locations, and years, presenting serious challenges to designing and implementing monitoring programs...
Estimating the population size of island loggerhead shrikes on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands, USA
Stanley, T., S. Teel, L. Hall, L. Dye, and L. Laughrin
Estimates are presented for the population sizes of 53 species of Nearctic shorebirds occurring regularly in North America, plus four species that breed occasionally. Population estimates range from a few tens to several millions. Overall, population estimates most commonly fall in the range of hundreds of thousands, par-ticularly the low hundreds of thousands; estimated population sizes for large shorebird species currently all fall below 500 000. Population size is inversely related to size (mass) of the species, with a statistically significant negative regression between log(population size) and log(mass). Two outlying groups are evident on the regres-sion graph: one, with populations lower than predicted, includes species considered to be either “at risk” or par-ticularly hard to count, and a second, with populations higher than predicted, includes two species that are hunted. Shorebird population sizes were derived from data obtained by a variety of methods from breeding, migration, and wintering areas, and formal assessments of accuracy of counts or estimates are rarely available. Accurate estimates exist only for a few species that have been the subject of detailed investigation, and the likely accuracy of most estimates is considered poor or low. Population estimates are an integral part of conservation plans being developed for shorebirds in the United States and Canada and may be used to identify areas of key international and regional importance.
Population estimates of Nearctic shorebirds
Morrison, R.I.G., R.E. Gill, Jr., B.A. Harrington, S. Skagen, G.W. Page, C.L. Gratto-Trevor, and S.M. Haig